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A Prince of Our Disorder: The Life of T.E. Lawrence
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A Prince of Our Disorder: The Life of T.E. Lawrence

4.28 of 5 stars 4.28  ·  rating details  ·  167 ratings  ·  15 reviews
First published in 1976, John Mack's Pulitzer Prize-winning biography humanely and objectively explores the relationship between T.E. Lawrence's inner life and his historically significant actions. Extensive research provides the basis for Mack's sensitive investigation of the psychological dimensions of Lawrence's personality and with the history, sociology, and politics ...more
Paperback, 624 pages
Published April 1st 1998 by Harvard University Press (first published July 28th 1976)
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A little too much psychiatry and too little history for my taste, but I suppose I should have read the author's blurb that John Mack was a professor of psychiatry at Harvard. Most books about Lawrence focus - rightly - on the 2 years he spent leading the Arab Revolt but there was obviously much more to the man than that. Scholar, archaeologist, diplomat, warrior, author and a small boat expert! He was also much loved and admired by almost everyone who came in contact with him professionally and ...more
Trish Lewis
Most people say they discovered T.E. Lawrence because of the 1962 film, LAWRENCE OF ARABIA. For me, it was A PRINCE OF OUR DISORDER - "...John Mack's Pulitzer Prize-winning biography humanely and objectively explores the relationship between T.E. Lawrence's inner life and his historically significant actions."

After that, my usual obsessive nature kicked in and I had to know more about this amazing individual. TEL and the many lives he touched and who touched his, the events he lived through and
In my opinion, the best biography of T.E. Lawrence. Highly recommended for anyone looking to learn more about this intriguing historical figure.
I'm not finished yet, but even just having gotten up to the beginning of WWI, it's a fascinating read. Professor Ajami gave free copies to his 8 AM Thursday class, so you know it has to be good. In retrospect, it's rather a miracle that Lawrence never got murdered by bandits during his early Levantine journeys.
Scooter Chick
An excellent read with insight that reveals not only Lawrence's triumphant heroism and achievements, but also explores his deeply conflicted mind. In the end one finds even more to admire Lawrence for.
This is the first "psychological biography" that I've ever read, and I'm conflicted about the value of such books. While Mack, whose book won the Pulitzer Prize, leaves no stone unturned in revealing Lawrence's unconscious motives, his narrow focus leaves little room for the creativity and ingenuity of the conscious mind, or the powerful influences of history, political necessity, and culture, especially the various cultures that Lawrence adapted to out of necessity. I finished the book feeling ...more
Bob Peru
one of the best books on lawrence. and i've read a lot both by and about lawrence.
I was afraid this was going to be too heavily psychological, but it wasn;t. For me the most interesting part (in view of our recent involvement therre) is the part on Lawerence's post-war involvement in setting uip Iraq, which he said he wanted to be "our first brown commonwealth" instead of "our last brown colony." I think there is no doubt he seriously wanted Iraq to be a successful essentially independent state, though whether installing his ally King Feisal in a country to which Feisal had n ...more
Keith W
An altogether excellent book. Prof. Mack explains and analyzes Lawrence's life in a fresh and interesting way. It is ultimately a very sad story. Lawrence was ashamed of being born out of wedlock and dealt with that shame his entire life. Finally, he could only deal with it by undergoing intense self-punishment that is described in the book. Prof. Mack writes in a very clear, illuminating style and is, I think, very sympathetic to his subject while maintaining the objectivity he needs to analyze ...more
Read over holiday break 2007-08, terrific biography of T. E. Lawrence.
I selected this biography, among the many written about TE Lawrence because of the Pulitzer and because of its reputation of being balanced. Reviews of other biographies warn of hagiography or vilification and I wanted "just the facts, ma'am". Granted, this is a psychological biography, so the facts are presented beautifully, but there is a bit of interpretation that is well-presented. After all, Mr. Mack had been a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He should know. Mack is a com ...more
Wow! Lawrence was a brilliant man but so psychologically damaged. The author, a psychiatrist, basically conducts an exhaustive psychological autopsy in this Pulitzer prize winning biography. There's a bit too much of a Freudian slant for my liking and it can get bogged down, but if you are familiar with Lawrence's bio you can breeze through some parts. I actually read the last section first (to get to the good stuff - the analysis) and am now going back through the biographical section.
Thomas ODonnell
Apr 14, 2009 Thomas ODonnell is currently reading it
What is the power of great men on events? Do great men make events (and thus can we blame and praise them as the media does) or do events limit and shape the responses and actions of men? And then, how much of what "makes" a great man (or woman) is actually a response to childhood and maturation problems that they are adjusting to? There has long been a strain of thought in heroism studies that feels that heroes are in fact flawed and this book fits that strain. A LOT to think about here.
Mark Sequeira
Excellent. T.E. Lawrence and Sir Richard Burton are two of my favorite warrior/scholars. Deep thinkers, brilliant men who are also men of action. I read this quite a few years ago and remember it as one of the better bios of the 6=7 I've read on Lawrence.
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American psychiatrist, writer, and professor at Harvard Medical School.

He was a Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer, and a leading authority on the spiritual or transformational effects of alleged alien abduction experiences.[
More about John E. Mack...
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